It has already been firmly established that SEO is of vital importance for improving your rankings, driving traffic to your website, and subsequently, increasing your profits. But, it’s only fair to admit that optimizing your content for SEO isn’t exactly a piece of cake, and the fact that Google updates its algorithms very frequently doesn’t help at all. According to Moz, the search engine makes minor changes 500-600 times a year. This is why you have to watch out for the latest tweaks if you want your SEO content campaign to be relevant in 2018, so here are some of the most important do’s and don’ts.
Watch Your Dwell Time
Although Google is secretive when it comes to its updates and ranking signals, there’s no doubt that dwell time is one of the most important metrics. Simply put, dwell time is the time a visitor spends on your web page before going back to the SERPs page. According to a recent study, the average dwell time for Google’s top 10 results is 3 minutes and 10 seconds. Obviously, to make people stay longer on your web page, you need to have stellar content which addresses their main pain points and interests in a useful and informative way.
Optimize for Google’s Answer Box
Featured snippets are boxes displayed above the No. 1 result in the SERPs, and they will absolutely dominate in 2018. Although it seems next to impossible, there are a couple of things that you can do to get Google to select your answer. What’s interesting is that the result from which a featured snipped is generated doesn’t have to hold the top spot – being on the first page is enough. In order to obtain so-called “position zero” and boost your CTR, you should:
- Identify queries in search results that ask a question related to your niche;
- Provide a clear and accurate answer, heavily backed by relevant data;
- Take advantage of Google’s maximum snippet length to prompt searchers to click and read the complete answer.
It’s clear that this is by no means a simple procedure, but if you want to capitalize on this trend, it’s a good idea to hire a respectable New York SEO company to help you dominate the SERPs.
Go for Long-tail Keywords and Lengthy Content
By targeting long tail keywords you will drive less traffic to your website, that’s for sure, but on the other hand, this traffic consists of high-quality leads, very interested in your products or services, that are very likely to convert and turn into buying customers. This is what makes long tail keywords so valuable and profitable in the long run. Similarly, longer pieces of content, which deal with a particular subject in more detail, are perceived by Google as more relevant, which means that they rank better. The analysis of more than 1 million Google search results has shown that the average word count of a first-page result is 1,890.
Promote Your Content on Social Media
Social media platforms are a must if you want to amplify your content marketing and SEO efforts. Not only will posting the links to your content on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn expand your reach and generate a lot of valuable traffic, but your rankings may be positively affected too. If your content is superb, people will like it and share it, and thus, in a way, vouch for its quality and relevance. Although social media still doesn’t qualify as a ranking signal, you will boost your rankings through organically earned backlinks.
Don’t Rely Solely on Text-based Content
If your blog posts consist of large chunks of text, and even more text, you won’t be able to capture the attention of your visitors. You can blame our shrinking attention span for this, but if you want to retain your audience you need to adjust to their needs and demands. By introducing visual content, such as images, infographics, and charts, you’ll make your blog posts more appealing, reader-friendly, and digestible. Throw in a couple of interesting videos too, and you can expect a surge in traffic.
Don’t Overstuff Your Content with Keywords
Yes, keywords are essential elements of SEO, but you need to be careful about how you use them. If you get carried away and put too many of them on a single web page, Google will consider it as spam and penalize you. If you aren’t sure how to use keywords in a balanced manner, take a cue from SEO specialists who say that 2-5% keyword density is the right measure. Implementing synonyms is a highly beneficial practice because it helps Google maintain relevance, and shows that your content is carefully crafted and valuable.
In 2018 more than ever, trying to trick Google is a very dangerous business doomed to failure. The search engine has become increasingly sophisticated, so making it to the top of the SERPs means that you have to play strictly by the book.